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High resolution RNA‐seq profiling of genes encoding ribosomal proteins across different organs and developmental stages in Arabidopsis thaliana

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In Arabidopsis thaliana, each ribosomal protein (RP) is encoded by a small gene family consisting of two or more highly homologous paralogues, which results in ribosome heterogeneity. It is largely unknown that how genes from multiple member containing RP families are regulated at transcriptional level to accommodate the needs of different plant organs and developmental stages. In this study, we investigated the transcript accumulation profiles of RP genes and found that the expression levels of RP genes are varied dramatically in different organs and developmental stages. Although most RP genes are found to be ubiquitously transcribed, some are obviously transcribed with spatiotemporal specificity. The hierarchical clustering trees of transcript accumulation intensity of RP genes revealed that different organs and developmental stages have different population of RP gene transcripts. By interrogating of the expression fluctuation trend of RP genes, we found that in spite of the fact that most groups of paralogous RP genes are transcribed in concerted manners, some RPs gene have contrasting expression patterns. When transcripts of paralogous RP genes from the same family are considered together, the expression level of most RP genes are well-matched but some are obviously higher or lower, therefore we speculate that some superfluous RPs may act outside the ribosome and a portion of ribosomes may lack one or even more RP(s). Altogether, our analysis results suggested that functional divergence may exist among heterogeneous ribosomes that resulted from different combination of RP paralogues, and substoichiometry of several RP gene families may lead to another layer of heterogeneous ribosomes which also have divergent functions in plants.

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